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SOWER BICENTENARY YEAR AUTUMN 2017

Literacy projects in Laos and Cambodia change lives for good

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“The men who established both institutions 200 years ago put their deposit in the heavenly realm before the treasures in earthly vessels.”

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Flickr_JAM Project

“Because the word of God is living, active and a two -edged sword”

A vision realised

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wo hundred years ago, Elizabeth Macquarie had a great idea – one that Bible Society is celebrating with a full calendar of national events. Elizabeth persuaded her husband, Governor Lachlan Macquarie, to rectify the scarcity of Bibles in the fledgling colony of New South Wales. So on 7 March 1817, Governor Macquarie called a meeting of leading citizens of Sydney, who passed a motion to form the New South Wales Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. The meeting elected 52 men to its first committee. A fortnight later, some of the same men set up Australia’s first bank. “The men who established both institutions 200 years ago

put their deposit in the heavenly realm before the treasures in earthly vessels,” says Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies. “The word that they treasured so much still speaks to men, women and children today because the word of God is living, active and a two-edged sword.” Archbishop Davies and Hillsong’s senior pastor Brian Houston joined in a National Celebration of the Bible on 5 March. The event, at the Hillsong Convention Centre in Sydney, was streamed live to other Hillsong churches and “lighthouse” churches across the country. Then on 7 March, NSW Governor David Hurley hosted a reception for Bible Society and guests at Government House.


Dear friends,

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was moved to tears this week by an email that popped up with a photo of a Bible Society supporter, a former state secretary of the Tasmanian Bible Society, Rev. Dudley Barker. (See top right.) Dudley had received our letter of recognition along with his lapel pin, marking 200 years of the work of the Bible Society in Australia.* But he wasn’t standing up to pose for the camera, or out in the field distributing Bibles; he was in bed, because he’s now in his 90s. But he still sent us a photo of himself clutching the pin, identifying himself as a servant of the word of the Lord. In my eyes, he is just as active a servant as he ever was. We are all beneficiaries of the “long obedience in the same direction” of Dudley and so many others like him. We are a group of people who believe – truly – in our product. See two members of our team proudly wearing their Bicentenary pins, right. Similarly, every one of you is part of the “Society” in Bible Society, and without you we are not able to do our vital work. Our theme in our bicentenary

year is here for good. I hope you like the double meaning, because it is celebrating two things. First, we are noting with delight how long we have been around, and with determination that our job isn’t done – we aren’t going anywhere just yet. And second, we want all Australians to know that the teachings of the Bible can transform a person, his or her family, their neighbourhood, and even their nation for good. That’s what we’re here to see happen. What is becoming clearer in the 21st century is that the Bible Society needs to be the champion of the Bible, advocating for the goodness of God’s word against the many sceptical and illinformed voices of our time. With much gratitude for everyone who makes Bible Society worth celebrating. Happy bicentenary, friends! * If you didn’t receive a lapel pin and would like one, please get in touch with us.

Dr Greg Clarke, CEO Bible Society Australia

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Open the book for believers Literacy skills enable Cambodians to engage more deeply in church life and read the Bible for themselves.

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ne in four Cambodians are illiterate, but a longstanding literacy programme implemented by Bible Society is making inroads and changing lives for good. “The textbooks contain the words of God, so, besides becoming literate, the students also learn about the true God, his word and his love,” says one rural pastor about the Learning

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“The textbooks contain the words of God, so, besides becoming literate, the students also learn about the true God, his word and his love,” says one rural pastor. Through Listening programme. With between one and five per cent of the population identifying as Christians, knowing the true God is exactly what most Cambodians need! In fact, some

churches have seized upon this opportunity to take the gospel to non-believers, and many have come to know the Lord Jesus through the classes. But the programme is at its heart aimed at increasing literacy among Christians, and since its inception it has helped more than 46,000 Cambodians to learn how to read. Launched in 2003, Learning


Through Listening is a threemonth course that teaches reading through a series of pre-recorded audio lessons and workbook activities. Literacy skills enable Cambodians to engage more deeply in church life and read the Bible for themselves.

The ability to read and write also allows them to participate and contribute more effectively to their communities, which helps break the cycle of poverty. In response to the success of the programme in Cambodia, churches in neighbouring Laos wanted to establish a similar programme to teach their nonliterate members to read the Bible, and help rural people engage more effectively in society. In 2016 the first pilot programme of a Laotian Learning Through Literacy course started, focusing on the communities of ethnic minorities, which generally live in more rural areas, where access to education is limited. Ngor* has been a believer for many years, but he still cannot read. He joined a pilot literacy

Cambodian children follow along in their workbooks as they listen to a pre-recorded audio literacy lesson.

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class at his church in 2016, and eagerly shared a textbook with a fellow student, following along with the recitation of the alphabet. He is excited to be able to read the words for himself, and is thrilled that his three daughters all read and know the Bible. In 2017, Bible Society Laos expects to start 30 to 50 literacy classes across the country, and hopes to teach about 1500 people to read the Bible for themselves. But with one in four Laotians unable to read, the need for more classes is greater than ever. The church in Cambodia and Laos is growing rapidly, but there is much more to be done to help Southeast Asian Christians read the word of God for themselves. *Name changed for security. Will you give generously today to help a Cambodian or Laotian Christian read the Bible in their heart language?

$30Â $80 $180

provides a Listen and Learn MP3 player for use in a literacy class. helps to supply Biblebased literacy text books for eleven students.

would provide 40 literacy graduates with a New Testament each.

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GIVE NOW

Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowercam


Devotion

Why are you weeping?

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mptiness is not normally a cause for celebration; an empty glass is disappointing, an empty wallet embarrassing, an empty home unwelcoming. At the empty tomb, Mary stands and weeps, mourning the absence of a body. As a widow might press some clothing to her face to inhale the lingering scent, so Mary clings to the last place where Jesus’ body lay. The anointing of the body in a final act of reverence could have brought some sweet solace to the bitter turn of events, and yet the tomb is devastatingly empty. “Woman, why are you weeping?” the angels ask. “They have taken away my Lord and I don’t where they have laid

him.” She turns and sees Jesus, but thinks he is the gardener. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus speaks one word to her, “Mary.” A pause. She turns to him and cries “Teacher!” In the space between those words a miracle occurs. Mary moves from despair to joy, unbelief to belief, from death to life as she becomes the first to witness the risen Lord. In a passage full of seeing and not seeing it is finally through hearing that the glorious penny drops. Jesus’ voice cuts straight through what Mary

Flickr / Monika

John 20:11-18

thinks she knows, bypasses her understanding of the world around her and hits her in the heart. We hold out for the day when we hear that voice say our own name, and can know, completely, without the daily curse of doubt, that all he said was true. He has indeed risen, he has prepared a place for us, and he welcomes those who, like Mary, hear his voice and turn to him. “Woman, why do you weep? Do not grieve, but rejoice in the empty tomb, do not mourn, but sing praises at the absent body, brush away your tears and go spread the news, ‘I have seen the Lord!’” Ruth Schroeter, Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney

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The urgent mission at home

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ible Society wants to give out more than 100,000 Scriptures to Australians this year, to mark 200 years of the Bible in Australia. The Good Book appeal, for the mission at home, urgently needs your help to bring the Bible to all Australians. You may wonder if there is a genuine hunger for more Scriptures. The answer is yes. Last year Bible Society distributed 70,000 Scripture resources to Christian ministries, but we barely scratched the surface. Our mission partners report that they just don’t have enough Scriptures to give to those who are asking. When it comes to schools, the situation is bleak. Research shows 70 per cent of Australian children have never read the Bible. To meet this need, over the past six years Bible Society has provided more than 350,000 Bibles to support public school ministry. But this year we have requests for 20,000 Bibles for school Scripture classes, and are struggling to meet the demand. Many of our nation’s First People still don’t have access to a Bible in their heart language, but Bible Society is working hard to provide Scriptures to remote communities, to help bring

healing and hope. God’s Story is a simple Bible overview made specifically for Indigenous children to read with their parents and grandparents. It is available in eight Aboriginal languages and in English. Bible Society enthusiastically supports the ministry of hospital chaplains, bringing the life-giving words of God to those in suffering and pain. Many people who would usually be uninterested in the Bible are willing to receive comfort and encouragement from the Scriptures when they are in hospital. Prison chaplains take the hope of the Bible to society’s most hopeless. When one prisoner heard the story of Jesus forgiving the criminal on the cross he told his friend, “Jesus even forgave the criminal, mate – he did, it’s in the Bible, I’ll show you!” Bible Society needs to raise close to $1 million this year to keep on bringing the good news of the gospel to people all across Australia.

After 200 years Aussies need the Good Book more than ever.

$30

can print and deliver a copy of God’s Story to Indigenous children in the outback.

$88

can provide eight children’s Bibles for public-school Scripture classes.

$200

will help us supply a chaplain serving in prisons, hospitals and similar areas with Bible resources for two months.

GIVE NOW Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/soweraustralia 9


From Queensland with love

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ive former directors of Bible Society Queensland got together with about 60 long-term supporters at a Mary Jones Bicentenary lunch in Brisbane to rejoice in getting God’s word into people’s hearts. All emphasised what a privilege it had been to share God’s word since the Auxiliary Bible Society of Moreton Bay (now Queensland) was established in 1855. The former directors – Steve Davies, Mark Owen, Kevin Bird, Ray Jones and Keith Bricknell – reminisced about how the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 opened up unprecedented opportunities and challenges as people in the Eastern bloc were again allowed to read and own Bibles. In a campaign to raise money for Bibles for Russia, Bible Society Queensland raised well over twice what they were expecting. About the same time, China was opening up to the Bible. In the 1980s and ’90s, Bible Society Queensland raised money to help establish Amity Printing

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“Whoever was seeking to engage with non-Christians and asking them how we could support them.” – Kevin Bird, director from 1998 to 2004 Press, which is now the largest Bible printing facility in the world, printing its 100 millionth Bible in 2012, “There was suddenly an incredible hunger for Bibles in China,” said Jones, who served as director from 1990-95. “It was a great challenge to raise sufficient funds to get Scriptures

to places that had been closed.” In the late 1990s, partnerships were strengthened with army chaplains, with Scripture Union and “whoever was seeking to engage with nonChristians and asking them how we could support them,” said Bird, director from 1998 to 2004. Bird told a story of a supporter who made a significant bequest to the work of Bible Society, which was used to support two Chinese women who were completing PhDs in England. They returned to China and today they are both still teaching people how to teach the Bible. In 2004, a special edition of Mark’s Gospel was distributed to cinema-goers across Australia. It was one of a series of targeted Scriptures published by Bible Society Queensland, including a backpackers Bible, magazines for teens, and footy Bibles. The group gave thanks to God and to the generous long-term supporters of Bible Society for enabling the work.


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n a powerful expression of Christian faith and Indigenous Australian culture, Our Mob, God’s Story is a new art book that brings together 67 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to share their stories of faith through vibrant artworks. The book weaves together Indigenous Australians’ testimonies of faith and creative expression through 117 artworks depicting some of the most loved biblical stories from creation to crucifixion. Emerging and established artists have drawn on ancient art techniques and expanded them in new ways through paintings that are visually inspiring and spiritually moving. Bible Society Australia hopes Our Mob, God’s Story will bring new understanding and respect for our Indigenous people and a deeper insight into their expression of Christian faith. OU R MO B, GO D’S ST ORY STRAIT ISLAND ER ABORIG INAL & TORRES FAITH ARTISTS SHARE THEIR

Christobel Mattingley by Louise Sherman and Scales Researched and edited Naden and Inawantji Conlon, Gail Naden, Glenny Art Selection by Max

Inawantji Scales, pictured right, from the Pipalyatjara community in APY Lands in far northwest South Australia, is working for Bible Society as a translator of the Old Testament into Pitjantjatjara. She became a Christian after hearing a voice asking her to love and forgive while she was driving on the Stuart Highway near Alice Springs. She has been painting since she was young and has two pictures in Our Mob, God’s Story. She describes her inspiration for this picture of Jesus Walking on the Water: “I got the vision for it. It was during worship, listening to the Hillsong song, Oceans. [The song says] ‘Lead me to where my trust is without borders.’ It’s from the Scriptures – about Jesus on the water, but also us on the water, taking a step of faith, letting the Spirit of God lead wherever he wants to lead us and test my faith and make my faith stronger.”

Profits from sales will go to Indigenous Bible translation, Bible materials and audio products. All artists have donated use of their paintings, generating funds for Bible ministry to their communities, preserving language and culture.

image: twitter.com

The Bible in pictures

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ant to see more? You can order this magnificent collection of artworks and stories by calling 1300 139 179 or online at bibleshop.org.au/ourmob You can also buy the book in-store at Koorong. 1111


Open the eyes of one million children

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he Bible is a forgotten book in Portugal, a nominally Catholic country where only a quarter of school children attend religious education classes. Concerned that most children are going through school without ever hearing about Jesus, Bible Society in Portugal has set itself an ambitious goal to give one million of Portugal’s 1.7 million children at least one opportunity to learn who Jesus is at the place they spend most time – at school. It has started distributing a 16-page Action Bible, a booklet telling the story of Jesus in a graphic style that can be understood by children as young as four and up to age 14. The initial aim is to reach 150,000 children through partnership with churches and other Christian organisations. With further support they hope to reach another 850,000 over the next two years. “We are also giving training to church leaders and teachers on the use of the material and a programme of kids’ games that was specially developed for this project based on the leaflet,” says Lídia Fletcher, pictured left, the publications coordinator for Bible Society Portugal.

“We have an exhibition ready using images of the Bible with the title – Who is Jesus? We also have a small manual for teachers to prepare the classes based on the exhibition and the leaflet. It is available for teachers and churches that want to use it in school.” Without this project, Bible Society in Portugal fears it will lose the opportunity to reach children at an age when they are most open to the gospel. They will then go through college, where secularism is very strong, or to a work environment, which is very competitive and closed to the gospel and its values. Lídia adds: “We have produced a pen with free materials for all the teachers that go to training that they can use in Sunday school or at religious teaching in schools. We are also working on having an app in European Portuguese. “We are sending a mailing to 5500 churches in Portugal with a sample of the leaflet and challenging them to distribute them at the school near their church. In April we will be giving training to all the religious teachers on how to use the leaflet in school along with the kids’ games.”

Will you help Portugal’s children hear about Jesus for the first time? Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), fill in the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au /sowerport

1.7m

children

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page graphic Bible

150k

reach target

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goal

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Bringing an old story to a new land Christian missionary 1845 Lancelot Threlkeld and his Aboriginal colleague Biraban complete their translation of Luke’s Gospel into the Awabakal language, the first Bible translation in Australia, but it remains unpublished for Shipwrecked 150 years. Catholic priest Angelo 1831 Confalonieri writes in Iwaidja the first Christian sentences recorded in any Indigenous language in the North of Australia.

7 March 1817

Governor Lachlan Macquarie calls a meeting of leading citizens of Sydney, who pass a motion to form the New South Wales Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Fifty Bibles are donated to form the basis of a lending library.

Bible Society appoints an itinerant agent, Brian Abbey, who visits the goldfields in his horse-drawn cart. He becomes well known to the rebel miners of the Eureka Stockade.

Bible Society field staff, called colporteurs, travel on horseback, in carts and on foot to bring the word of God to cities and towns, on the goldfields and at isolated squatters’ homesteads and timber camps.

1850s

The first printed Scriptures in any Indigenous language are published – George Taplin’s translation of Scripture selections into Narrinyeri (Ngarrindjeri).

1845

1819

The Tasmanian Bible Society Auxiliary begins.

The first Bible Society is formed in Melbourne. Over the next 20 years, the gold rush brings in 400,000 people, and with them a huge 1827 demand for Bibles The first publication of the fledgling in many languages NSW Auxiliary is a volume of Bible including Chinese. portions in Maori for new Christians in New Zealand.

1840

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Auxiliary Bible Society of South Australia is formed.

1850-1900

1855

Auxiliary Bible Society of Moreton Bay (now Queensland) is formed.

1856

Presbyterian missionary William Ridley publishes Gurre Kamilaroi, a little book of Bible stories in the Kamilaroi language of northern NSW.

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1940s

With a huge rise in population during the gold rush, a Bible Society Auxiliary is formed in Western Australia. One donation received is a gold nugget worth £14.

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Braille Bibles for the blind are made available free for more than 100 years.

1881

The famous khaki New Testament was issued to the Australian Army and in different blues to the Navy and Air Force. More than a million copies were carried to war.

WW I&II

1871

In remote parts of Australia dedicated missionaries begin the renewed task of Bible translation into Indigenous languages. Today Indigenous Christians have become the translators with Bible Society support.

1988

Bible Society marks Australia’s Bicentenary with the first full Bible printed in Australia, the Good News Bible, with distinctly Australian vocabulary.

1879

Mark’s Gospel is published in Mer, the language of Murray Island, which becomes famous as the language of land-rights champion Eddie Mabo.

1930s

Bible Society gives Scriptures away to the unemployed, funded by self-sacrificing donors. A Tasmanian deputationer records that a woman “took the ring from her finger and placed it, still warm, into my hand.”

1887

Bible Societies give a pocket-sized Penny Testament to every school child in Australia to mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign.

The state organisations of Bible Society vote themselves out of existence and vote in a new, unified national body, “Bible Society Australia.”

Bible Sunday becomes a fixture in churches throughout Australia. Led by the legendary Canon Bert Arrowsmith, Bible Society becomes an increasingly significant organisation.

Post WWII

2010

The GovernorGeneral launches the first video volume of the Bible in Auslan (Australian Deaf Sign Language).

2014

The Gospel of Luke in Nyoongar becomes the first Scripture to be translated in southwest Australia.

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Bible mission at home YOUR SUPPORT OF BIBLE SOCIETY AUSTRALIA HELPS US MEET THESE GREAT NEEDS HERE AT HOME.

CHILDREN & YOUTH REMOTE & INDIGENOUS

Provide resources for about 20 projects in printing, creating audio Scriptures, resources for Bible engagement, training workshops and translating Pitjantjatjara Old Testament.

• Provide 13,000 free Big Rescue Bibles and 2000 Youth Bibles to Scripture teachers around Australia. • Create more resources. • Reach 3500 Year 10 and 11 students through Masterclass training.

BIBLE ENGAGEMENT & ADVOCACY

SCRIPTURE GRANTS Distribute more than 100,000 free Scriptures to chaplains and frontline Christian ministries.

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• Engage 10,000 people with the Bible through resources and events. • Centre for Public Christianity: Major focus is a documentary series highlighting the impact of Christianity on the West.


CHURCH & COMMUNITY RELATIONS • Nurture relationships with churches of all denominations, currently 2000 and growing.

PUBLISHING

• Expand our network of 750 volunteer church agents who champion our work in their parish. • Provide tools for Bible engagement for all ages.

• Eternity continues its push into the digital space, providing winsome content that Christians can share, even with non-Christians. • Bible Society’s publishing highlight for 2017 is a major history of the impact of the Bible in Australia.

• Increase the distribution and visibility of Bibles and Christian books in Australia. • Provide a wide range and depth of resources to serve the church. • Support Bible Society mission work through sales.

There is so much more to do, given the great need in Australia for improved Bible literacy and engagement.

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Let the children come to Jesus

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he contrast is black and white: children from affluent homes in South Africa receive an average of 400 hours of literacy stimulation before they start school; children from poorer areas often get none. With about half of South Africa’s population classified as poor, too many children are falling behind before they even start school. Many poor preschool children do not attend Grade R (reception phase) of school so they often have to repeat Grade 1. By Grade 3, many children in the poorer areas still cannot read or perform basic addition. It’s estimated that 80 per cent of disadvantaged learners will not reach the highest level of school. For the country’s future, it is crucial to narrow the gap in educational attainment between students at disadvantaged schools, who are predominantly black, and those at predominantly white Afrikaans/English schools. This year, Bible Society and its partners plan to supply 360,000 Bible-based literacy booklets to preschool children attending day care centres and crèches and up to Grade 2 in the poorer areas of South Africa. The primer My Bible Do and Learn Book is based on the tried-and-tested “Do and Learn”

method which uses posters and flash cards to teach reading and numeracy by association. Anyone who can read can teach the programme. The ultimate goal is to make the booklet available in all of the 11 languages spoken in South Africa. This year, with the launch of the isiZulu version, the tally has reached seven. Apart from giving the children a solid foundation for starting school, it also establishes children on the rock of Christian faith. “I can see how the little ones develop and hopefully when they go to school they will not be behind,” says Dudu Mathubo, principal of the Impendulo Day Care Centre in Hlomisa near Johannesburg. “Above all, I play a part in introducing them to the Bible at a very early age.” Zanele Mahlangu of the Free State Department, says the books “could restore the moral values of our children, like respect, loyalty, dedication, commitment and above all love.”

Will you help meet a real need to promote literacy and Bible literacy among preschool children and up to Grade 2 in South Africa?

Dudu Mathubo

GIVE NOW

Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowersa 19 19


BSA updates

Acorn in family tree One of the liveliest Christian publishers in Australia, Acorn Press, has formed a partnership with Bible Society. Acorn publishes inspiring and challenging books by Australian Christians. Kris Argall, senior editor at Acorn Press, says it’s good to have material published that is relevant to Australian lives. Acorn’s bestseller is Understanding Jesus and Muhammad, by Bernie Power, while God Next Door by Simon Holt helps readers think about how to reach their neighbours with the good news of the gospel.

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Riding high for Bibles

For better, for worse

The Bike for Bibles event has a proud history stretching back to 1981. This year kicks off with riders in the Tas 200 Tour Bike for Bibles event covering some of the best roads in Australia in a 14-day ride ending on 10 March. Then riders in the two-day Victorian Round the Bay ride on 25-26 March will cycle 250km around Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay with an overnight stay at Dromana. All the cyclists are raising funds to support a literacy programme run in refugee camps in South Sudan for people fleeing violence and persecution in their own country.

Members of the Centre for Public Christianity resume their travels this month to complete filming for a forthcoming documentary on the best and worst of Christian history. Next month the CPX team will be filming in Australia, then they go to Europe in May. Above: CPX director Simon Smart on location last year at Oak Alley Plantation in New Orleans filming a segment on slavery. For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than You Ever Imagined is due for release late this year.


BSA diary – Bicentenary 2017 STATES Queensland

DATES

EVENTS

VENUES

12 March

Bicentenary Celebration Service

Red Hill Uniting Church, Gympie

10 October

Get The Word Out morning tea

Kingaroy Lutheran

26 October

Combined Churches Ladies Fellowship

Biggenden

31 October

Redcliffe Branch fundraising luncheon

Redcliffe

Victoria

19 March

Hymnfest and Devonshire Tea

Christ Church Anglican, Geelong

NSW

25 March

Antique Bibles Roadshow

QE11 Square, Albury

24 September Sing for Bibles South Australia 27 August Western Australia

Tasmania

West Gosford Presbyterian

Hymnfest, St Peter’s Cathedral

Adelaide

10 June

Hymnfest

Perth, featuring the Perth Adventist Orchestra and Choir

Oct/Nov

Mary Jones lunch (Date and venue to be confirmed)

Perth

7 March

Bike for Bibles Celebration Night

Scottsdale Gospel Hall

9 March

Burnie Bike for Bibles Celebration Night

Lifehouse Church, Wivenhoe

19 March

Bicentenary Service

St John’s Anglican Church, Launceston

25 June

Festival of Word & Song

Ulverstone Baptist Church

5 August

Southern Word Songwriting Showcase

St Clement’s Anglican Church, Kingston

Please help Bible Society Australia celebrate its Bicentenary by attending an event in your state. There are more events being planned than are listed here. See the updated list at bible.com. au/events or call Bible Society on 1300 Bibles (1300 242 537)

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Prayer points March – June 2017 March 5-11

Zambia: Bible Society in Zambia is looking for new office space after Bible House in Lusaka was badly damaged by fire. Acting General Secretary Rev. Dr Stephen Sitali Kakungu has asked for prayers. Australia – Fundraising & Community Relations: Pray for Bible Society’s staff in Victoria, busy with organising Bicentennial events: the Geelong Hymnfest, Antique Bible Road Show in Albury and Celebration at Parliament House Melbourne.

March 12-18

Australia – Events for Bibles: Please pray that God would bless the faithful riders in Tas 200 Tour Bike for Bibles ride and the Victorian Round the Bay ride, as they seek to raise funds to support literacy programmes in South Sudan. Nigeria: Please pray for the success of a new training programme for future leaders. Bible Society’s new training academy has 39 participants, of whom 14 are managers.

March 19-25

Singapore: Please pray for inspiring, informative and safe Bible Land tours and Bible Mission trips in 2017, that God will provide wisdom and guidance to trip organisers. Please also pray that more people would be interested in visiting the Holy Lands. Australia – Centre for Public Christianity: Pray for safety for the CPX team as it continues its shooting overseas for the forthcoming documentary on the

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best and worst of Christian history. Pray that CPX can tell accurately and compellingly the story of what it has looked like when followers of Christ act in obedience to the one they claim to follow.

March 26-April 1

Vietnam and Cambodia: Praise God for 125 years of Bible Society work in Vietnam and Cambodia. Pray for staff in Cambodia, Vietnam and neighbouring Laos, as they serve the churches. Pray for many to value God’s word and share Christian faith and love. Australia – Remote & Indigenous Ministry Support: Pray that many people will be touched by Our Mob, God’s Story, an art book of 117 paintings by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that portray a Bible story or Christian theme. Pray the book will raise significant funds for Bible Society’s ministry to Indigenous Australians and assist in reconciliation.

April 2-8

Brazil: Thank God for evangelisation activities during last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Join us in prayer for the celebrations of the 500 years of the Reformation in our country, the campaign Change Brazil through the Bible, and the Bible in Every Home movement. Australia – Fundraising & Community Relations: Please pray for opportunities to inspire supporters about vital Bible mission work. Pray for Sam Achenbach and Richard Allcock of the NSW team as they visit supporters.

April 9-15

Albania: Pray for the Social Football Academy project that serves families in need, as well as more than 100 children from a local orphanage. Please pray that this unique sporting ministry will grow and help young people encounter Jesus.


Australia – Fundraising & Community Relations: Pray for WA staff Rick Pekan and Marcus Ngoi as they share the work of Bible Society. Pray for safe travel, smooth schedules and many opportunities to encourage supporters.

April 16-22

Taiwan: Please pray for smooth publishing processes for several Bible projects. Please also pray for the completion of the Drekay and Sediq Bibles, due later this year. Hungary: Ask God to use the efforts of Bible Society to speak his word to people with disabilities and limited literacy. Thank God for the progress of translating the Gospel of Mark into Hungarian Sign Language, and for completion of the Audio Bible.

April 23-29

Australia – Content and Publishing: After Bible Society’s recent acquisition of Acorn Press, a Christian publisher based in Melbourne, pray for wisdom in selecting which books to publish. Malaysia: Pray for wisdom and guidance for Rev. Mathew Punnoose, whose role as General Secretary is to be confirmed this month. Pray for God’s guidance in providing a translation consultant to oversee projects in East and West Malaysia.

April 30-May 6

Australia – Campaigns & Programmes: Please pray for preparations for Roundtable Exchange, which Australia is hosting in July. Please pray visas to enter Australia will be easy and successful. West Balkans: Please pray for the partnership among Bible Societies in Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Pray for successful Bible engagement events and joint projects, including a full Bible due at the end of 2018.

May 7-13

South Pacific: Pray for Bible Society of the South Pacific as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Pray also for the ongoing Tonga Contemporary Old Testament translation project. Syria: Thank God for a trauma healing project run by Bible Society Syria. Two workshops held recently helped people come to terms with their experiences of trauma and equipped them to minister to others in the region.

May 14-20

Argentina: Thank God for new areas for Bible promotion and interaction and for Bible translation into West Toba and Argentine Sign Language. Ethiopia: Thank God for the recent launch of the New Testament in Arisi, which will strengthen speakers of this language in their own identity.

May 21-27

Mexico: This country has about 263 native languages, which brings a complexity to church services. Pray for more Mexicans to know God’s word in their heart language and for pastors and leaders to clearly preach the true gospel. Australia – Koorong Books: Please pray for wisdom for Koorong store staff as they guide customers looking for the right Bible for small group study.

May 28-June 3

Hungary: Thank God for the reopening of the Budapest Bible Museum. Please pray that the new interactive museum will be an effective tool to introduce children and young people to the Bible. Australia – Mission: Please pray for smooth planning of upcoming Masterclass series. Pray that many Year 10 and 11 students will attend and that the speakers will inspire and encourage them.

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Autumn Bible Reading Plan Mar 5 – June 10

The Bible in Australia

By Greg Clarke

Week One

MAR 5 – MAR 11 SUN 5 Ps 116:12-13 MON 6 Acts 17:26 (KJV) TUE 7 Ps 24:1-2 WED 8 Prov 11:14; Ps 127:1 THUR 9 Isa 55:10-11

Week Three

MAR 19 – MAR 25 SUN 19

Rom 12:6-8

MON 20 Job 2:13 TUE 21

Week Five

APRIL 2 – APRIL 8 SUN 2

Matt 5:1-12

MON 3

Matt 4:12-17 Isa 61:1-3

1 Cor 13:3

WED 5

Matt 5:1-2

THUR 23 2 Cor 9:7

THUR 6

Isa 40:9-11

WED 22

FRI 24 Matt 20:13-15

SAT 11 Matt 9:35-38

SAT 25

Week Two

Lent

By Common Grace

TUE 4

John 13:34-35

FRI 10 John 15:13

MAR 12 – MAR 18

Rom 12:18

Week Four

MAR 26 – APRIL 1

FRI 7

Matt 5:3

SAT 8

Matt 5:4

Week Six

APRIL 9 – APRIL 15

SUN 12 Ps 78:1-4

SUN 26

1 Pet 3:9

SUN 9

Matt 5:5

MON 13 1 Pet 2:9

MON 27

Eph 4:32

MON 10

Matt 5:6

TUE 11

Matt 5:7

TUE 14 Ps 104:14-15

TUE 28

WED 15 Rom 10:14-15

WED 29

Eph 4:25

WED 12

Matt 5:8

THUR 30

Heb 13:1-2

THUR 13

Matt 5:9

THUR 16 James 1: 22, 27 FRI 17 Prov 13:11

FRI 31

SAT 18 Gal 6:2-5

SAT 1

A whirlwind tour highlighting the influence of the Bible on Australian life across the past 200 years, from the time of the founding of the Bible Society in Australia.

24

Generosity

By Tess Holgate

Gal 6:2

1 Thess 2:8

FRI 14

Matt 5:10-12

Isa 40:29-31

SAT 15

Matt 13:31-32

Generosity is not just about how loosely you hold on to your money. As Christians, we are also called to be generous with our time, compassion, kindness and hospitality, all because God has been generous to us.

This Easter, take some time to think over why Jesus came to earth, and be refreshed as you notice how he came to serve and save you.


Philemon

By Tess Holgate

Week Seven

APRIL 16 – APRIL 22 SUN 16 Phlm 1-3 MON 17 Phlm 4-5

I just needed to look

By Scott Walters

Week Nine

Week Eleven

APRIL 30 – MAY 6 SUN 30

SUN 14

MON 15 Acts 1:3-5

MON 1

John 15:7-8

Phlm 6

TUE 2

Matt 7:1-3

WED 19

Phlm 7

WED 3

FRI 21

Phlm 8-10 Phlm 11

SAT 22 Phlm 12-13

Week Eight

APRIL 23 – APRIL 29 SUN 23 Phlm 14 MON 24

THUR 4

Matt 6:25-27 Isa 53:5

FRI 5 Ps 62:1-2 SAT 6

Matt 7:7

Week Ten

MAY 7 – MAY 13 SUN 7 Rev 21:1

Phlm 15-16

MON 8

TUE 25 Phlm 17-19

TUE 9

2 Cor 3:18 Ps 27:14

WED 26 Phlm 20

WED 10 Mark 9:21-24

THUR 27

Phlm 21

THUR 11 Matt 11:28-30

FRI 28

Phlm 22

SAT 29 Phlm 23-25

This tiny little letter, squished in the back of the New Testament, about a slave-cumChristian being sent back to his master has the power to refresh your spirit. Join us to be encouraged to continue in your walk with Jesus.

MAY 14 – MAY 20

Phil 4:6-7

TUE 18 THUR 20

Acts 1

By Simone Richardson

FRI 12 Luke 12:33-34 SAT 13 Phil 4:12-13

The irritating benefit of hindsight is that it is often easier to see why we should have listened to biblical wisdom when we suffer through trials and difficulties. The one thing I keep learning is that the wisdom was there all along, I just needed to look for it.

Acts 1:1-2

Persecuted church By Mike Gore

Week Thirteen MAY 28 – JUNE 3

SUN 28 Gen 4:8 MON 29 Job 2:6-7

TUE 16

Acts 1:5-8

TUE 30

Jer 32:26-29

WED 17

Acts 1:8-11

WED 31

Mark 13:9

THUR 18 Acts 2:1-11

THUR 1

Matt 27:22-24

FRI 19

Acts 2:11-13

SAT 20

Acts 2:14-21

Week Twelve MAY 21 – MAY 27 SUN 21

Acts 2:16-17

MON 22 Acts 2:36-41 TUE 23 WED 24

Acts 5:27-32 Acts 4:13

THUR 25 Acts 4:23-31 FRI 26

Acts 5:1-5

SAT 27

Acts 7:51-60

In these two weeks we’ll be looking at passages from the beginning of the book of Acts and considering what it means for us to live in the Age Of The Spirit – that period of time between Jesus’ ascension to heaven and his return to Earth.

FRI 2 1 Thess 2:13-16 SAT 3

Matt 10:21

Week Fourteen JUNE 4 – JUNE 10 SUN 4

2 Cor 4:8-12

MON 5

Neh 6:9

TUE 6

John 15:8

WED 7

Acts 22:4

THUR 8 2 Cor 11:23-26 FRI 9 SAT 10

1 John 3:1 Ps 10:17-18

In this series Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia, will outline what persecution looks like from its beginnings in Genesis all the way through to today. Learn how you can connect with brothers and sisters in persecution.

25


Our Mob, God’s Story is a magnificent collection of artworks and stories by 67 established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from communities, towns and cities across Australia. It contains 117 artworks in an exciting variety of styles, all inspired by Bible verses and stories from creation to the crucifixion.

$34.99* Introductory price only

Noah’s Flood by Kristy Naden

OU R MO B, GO D’S STO RY STRAIT ISLANDE R ABORIGIN AL & TORRES FAITH ARTISTS SHARE THEIR

Christobel Mattingley by Louise Sherman and Scales Researched and edited Naden and Inawantji Conlon, Gail Naden, Glenny Art Selection by Max

To order a copy call 1300 139 179 or visit:

bibleshop.org.au/ourmob

You can also purchase the book in store at Koorong *RRP $49.99. New release price for only a limited time. Be quick!


Bible Societies around the world

Worth waiting for Eager buyers in eastern Uganda lined up to buy the first copies of the complete Lumasaaba Bible at its launch last December. All 2000 copies had been sold by 11.45am and happy customers paraded with their new Bibles, led by a marching band. People waited long into the afternoon for new supplies to arrive from Kampala. Of the 5100 copies printed, more than 4100 had been distributed by the end of January.

Hope for hopeless Kenyan street boy Crispus Maina says he is a completely different person since a stranger took him to the Greater Life Concern Ministry Centre in Mlango Kubwa, Kenya. Now Crispus and 30 others who are seeking to leave behind lives of addiction and violence are being transformed by hearing God’s word through Bible Society’s Faith Comes by Hearing audio Scripture programme. Above: a man gives his testimony.

Stopping violence The Peruvian Bible Society’s campaign against child abuse is training adults in churches, schools and grassroots groups in how to treat children well and helping children identify risk situations and what to do. In 2016, the Society distributed 40,000 booklets to children about physical and sexual abuse and held 48 workshops on preventing bullying and child abuse. It also held 31 workshops for adults.

GPO BOX 9874 In Your Capital City P: 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) ISSN 1839-7425 W: biblesociety.org.au E: sower@biblesociety.org.au ACN 148 058 306

Bible Society Australia is a not-for-profit interdenominational organisation. It’s a member of the United Bible Societies, a fellowship of 154 organisations working in more than 200 countries. Our mission is to achieve the widest possible, effective and meaningful distribution of the Bible; also to help people interact with it, and to have their hearts lightened by the Bible’s message of unconditional love in Jesus Christ.

27


YES! I want the Bible to be available

For those who do not like to cut up their Sower we have provided a copy of this form with your address slip for mailed copies.

Cambodia/Laos literacy

Youth in Portugal

(tax-deductible*) 17SWAU1TD

My gift for

(non-tax-deductible) 17SWAU1NTD

Schools, Indigenous and ADF chaplains

(tax-deductible*) 17SWAU3TD

Where needed most

(tax-deductible*) 17SWAU2TD

(non-tax-deductible) 17SWAUGEN

Other chaplains

Where needed most

(non-tax-deductible) 17SWAU2NTD

$60

South African preschool

(tax-deductible*) 17SWAUGENTD

Amount

$30

$125

I enclose my

Cheque (payable to Bible Society)

Please debit my

Visa Card

$250

My choice $

Money Order (payable to Bible Society)

MasterCard

Card Number Expiry Date

/

Name on Card

Signature Receipts

Please send a receipt.

Please send a tax-deductible receipt.

Please send me information about giving regularly to Bible Society.

Phone number

Name Email

Address

Your church

Name

Suburb

Denomination

Please return to Bible Society, Reply Paid 88900, Sydney, NSW 2001 (No stamp needed) You can also donate online at www.biblesociety.org.au or by phone on 1300 BIBLES or (1300 242 537) If these appeals are oversubscribed or a project changes due to unforeseen reasons, we will reallocate remaining funds to similar projects. *Receipts for tax-deductible donations of $2 or more will be issued by the trustee for Bible Society Foundation. ABN 41 725 839 724

OR

Sower - Autumn 2017  
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